Downpour fails to dampen trans-Tasman meeting

Peters met with Bishop meeting on Waiheke Island
Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, left, and New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters arrive at the meeting on Waiheke Island (Photo: Pool)

Sarah Robson, Reporter

A meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Australian counterpart Julie Bishop is under way amid heavy rain on Waiheke Island.

In opening remarks, Mr Peters said New Zealand’s relationship with its neighbour was was its most special, and Ms Bishop said the two countries were natural partners.

Mr Peters and Ms Bishop arrived at Mudbrick Vineyard amid the downpour and walked to the meeting room under the cover of umbrellas.

“It’s wet out there,” Ms Bishop said as she stepped into the meeting room.

Ms Bishop asked Mr Peters to tell her about the vineyard.

“On a great day it’s fantastic,” he said.

The pair didn’t do the usual formal handshake as they took their seats at the table.

Mr Peters thanked Ms Bishop for coming to Waiheke Island and apologised for the weather.

“I hope you enjoy Waiheke Island, it’s a very special place.”

In his opening remarks, Mr Peters said New Zealand’s relationship with Australia was its most special.

Ms Bishop thanked Mr Peters for choosing such a beautiful location for their meeting.

“Australians never complain about rain,” she said.

“It’s a bit of an adventure.”

Ms Bishop also thanked Mr Peters for the “delightful” evening she spent with the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Bishop tweets first meeting w Ardern Feb 2018

Ms Bishop tweeted a photo with Ms Ardern, saying they had had much to discuss.

The photo was subsequently shared on Instagram by Ms Ardern.

“Australia and New Zealand are essential natural partners and we have so many issues in common,” Ms Bishop said.

But Ms Bishop said there was more the two countries could do together.

She said she looked forward to discussing a range of issues with Mr Peters, including regional issues, engagement in the Pacific and South-East issue and broader issues around terrorism and security around the globe.

Ms Bishop thanked Mr Peters for his warm hospitality.

Meetings between the two foreign ministers are held every six months.

One ongoing issue likely to be raised was New Zealand’s standing offer to take 150 refugees from offshore Australian detention centres – an offer Australia has so far declined to take up.

[Read the Radio NZ article].

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